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“19. For the further stirring up the gist which is in us, sometimes we have public, sometimes private, love-feasts: at which we take moderate refreshment, with gladness and singleness of heart, and the voice of praise and thanksgiving.
“20. If any man among us, having been often admonished, and long forborne, persists in walking unworthy of his holy calling, he is no longer admitted to the Lord's Supper. If he still continues in his fault, hating to be reformed, the last step is, publicly, and often in the midst of many prayers and tears, to cast him out of our congregation. But great is our joy if he then see the error of his ways, so that we may receive him among us again.
"21. Most of our brethren and sisters have, in some part of their life, experienced holy mourning and sorrow of heart; and have afterward been assured, that there was no more “condemnation for them, being passed from death unto life.” They are, therefore, far from fearing to die, or desiring to live on earth; knowing that to them “to die is gain," and being confident that they are the care of Him whose are the “issues of life and death.” Wherefore they depart as out of one chamber into another. And after the soul has left its habitation, their remains are deposited in the earth, appointed for that purpose. And the survivors are greatly comforted, and rejoice over them with a “joy the world knoweth not of.”
REV. MR. JOHN WESLEY'S JOURNAL.
FROM AUGUST 12, 1738, TO NOVEMBER 1, 1739.
If this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot over
throw it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God, Acts V, 38, 39.
1. WHEN at first men began to lay to my charge things which I knew not, I often thought, “Had I but two or threc intimate friends who knew what my life and conversation were, they might easily speak what they had seen and heard, and all such aspersions would fall to the ground.” But I perceived my mistake as soon as I had two or three who were my friends indeed, not in name only. For a way was easily found to prevent their being of any such use as I once imagined they would be. This was done at a stroke, and that once for all, by giving them and me a new name : a name which, however insignificant in itself, yet had this peculiar effect, utterly to disable me from removing whatever accusation might, for the time to come, be cast upon me, by invalidating all which those who knew me best were able to say in my behalf: nay, which any others could say. For, how notorious is it, that if a man dare to open his mouth in my favour, it needs only be replied, “I suppose you are a Methodist too,” and all he has said is to pass for nothing!
2. Hence, on the one hand, many who knew what my conversation was, were afraid to declare the truth, lest the same reproach should fall upon them: and those few who broke through this fear, were soon disabled from declaring it with effect, by being immediately ranked with him they defended. What impartial man then can refuse to say, “It is permitted to thee to answer for thyself ?" Only do not add, “But thou shalt not persuade me, though thou dost persuade me: I am resolved to think as I did before.” Not so, if you are a candid man. You have heard one side already : hear the other: weigh both; allow for human weakness: and then judge as you desire to be judged.
3. What I design in the following extract is, openly to declare to all mankind, what it is that the Methodists (so called) have done, and are doing now: or rather, what it is that God hath done, and is still doing in our land. For it is not the work of man which hath lately appeared. All who calmly observe it must say, " This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes."
4. Such a work this hath been in many respects, as neither we nor our fathers had known. Not a few whose sins were of the most flagrant kind, drunkards, swearers,
res, whoremongers, adulterers, have been brought " from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” Many of these were rooted in their wickedness, having long gloried in their shame, perhaps for a course of many years, yea, even to hoary hairs. Many had not so much as a notional faith, being Jews, Arians, Deists, or Atheists. Nor has God only made bare his arm in these last days, in behalf of open publicans and sinners; but many “ of the Pharisees” also “ have believed on him," of the “righteous that needed no repentance ;” and, having received “the sentence of death in themselves," have then heard the voice that raiseth the dead: have been made partakers of an inward, vital religion; even “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
5. The manner wherein God hath wrought this work in many souls is as strange as the work itself. It has generally, if not always, been wrought in one moment. “As the lightning shining from heaven,” so was “the coming of the Son of Man," either to bring peace or a sword; either to wound or to heal; either to convince of sin, or to give remission of sins in his blood. And the other circumstances attending it have been equally remote from what human wisdom would have expected. So true is that word, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways."
6. These extraordinary circumstances seem to have been designed by God for the further manifestation of his work, to cause his power to be known, and to awaken the attention of a drowsy world. And yet, even from these some have drawn their grand objection against the whole work: “We never saw it,' say they, on this fashion ;' therefore the work is not of God.” To prove which further, they have not only greatly misrepresented many circumstances that really were, but have added many that were not, often without any regard either to truth or probability. A bare recital of those facts, which were “not done in a corner," is the best answer to this sort of objections. To those which have been judged to be of more weight, I have occasionally given a more particular answer.
7. Yet I know even this will by no means satisfy the far greater part of those who are now offended. And for a plain reason,-because they will never read it: they are resolved to hear one side, and one only. I know also, that many who do read it will be just of the same mind they were before ; because they have fixed their judgment already, and do not regard any thing which such a fellow can say. Let them see to that. I have done my part. I have delivered mine own soul. Nay, I know that many will be greatly offended at this very account. It must be so from the very nature of the things which are therein related. And the best appellation I expect from them, is that of a fool, a madman, an enthusiast. All that in me lies is, to relate simple truth in as inoffensive a manner as I can. Let God give it the effect which pleaseth him, and which is most for his glory!
8. May “He who hath the key of the house of David, who openeth and no man shutteth,” open “a great and effectual door” by whom it pleaseth him, for his everlasting Gospel! May he “send by whom he will send,” so it may “run and be glorified” more and more! May he "ride on conquering and to conquer,” until “the fulness of the Gentiles” be come in; and “the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea !"
SATURDAY, August 12, 1738.—About seven in the evening we came to, Neu-Kirche, a town about twenty-four miles from Hernhuth. Mr. Schneider (the minister of it, who had desired us to take his house in our way) was not at home: but we found one Mr. Manctius there, the minister of a neighbouring town, who walked with us in the morning ten miles to Hauswalde, where he lived. He told us that the Lutherans, as well as the Papists, were irreconcilable enemies to the brethren of Hernhuth: that the generality of the Lutheran clergy were as bitter against them as the Jesuits themselves : that none of his neighbours durst go thither, (unless by stealth,) being sure of suffering for it if discovered : that to prevent any of Hernhuth from coming to them, the elector had forbid, under a severe penalty, any number of persons, exceeding three, to meet together on a religious account: and that he himself, for having a little society in his own parish, had been summoned to appear before the consistory at Dresden. Yea, let the 6 kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his Anointed! He that sitteth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision."
We left Hauswalde in the afternoon, and in the evening came to Dresden. But the officer at the gate would not suffer us to come in; so that we were obliged to go on to the next village : which leaving early in the morning, on Thursday in the afternoon we came to Leipsig. We were now kept only an hour at the gate, and then conducted to Mr. Arnold's, who had invited us when we were in the town before, to make his house our home. A few we found here, too, who desire to “know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified.” And from them we had letters to Halle, whither we came on Friday, 18. But the king of Prussia's tall men (who kept the gates) would not suffer Mr. Brown to come in. Me they admitted, (in honour of my profession,) after I had waited about two hours : and one of them went with me to the prince of Hesse, who, after a few questions, gave me leave to lodge in the city. Thence he showed me to Mr. Gotschalck's lodgings, to whom I had letters from Leipsig. He read them and said, “ My brother, what you find here, you will use as your own. And if you want any thing else, tell us, and you shall have it.” I told them my companion was without the gate. They soon procured admittance for him. And we were indeed as at home; for I have hardly seen such little children as these, even at Hernhuth.
Sat. 19.—I waited on professor Francke, who behaved with the utmost humanity; and afterward on professor Knappe, to whom also I am indebted for his open, friendly behaviour. Between ten and eleven seven of the brethren set out with us, one of whom went with us two days' journey. It was the dusk of the evening on Sunday, 20
when, wet and weary, we reached Jena. Mon. 21.--We visited the schools there; the rise of which (as we were informed) was occasioned thus :
About the year 1704, Mr. Stoltius, a student at Jena, began to speak of faith in Christ; which he continued to do, till he took his Master's degree, and read public lectures. About twelve or fifteen students were awakened and joined with him in prayer, and building up one another. At this (after various calumnies spread abroad, and divers persecutions occasioned thereby) the consistory was offended, and issued out a commission to examine him. In consequence of the report made to the consistory by these commissioners, he was forbid to read any public lectures, or to hold any meetings with his friends. Not long after an order was given, by which he was excluded from the holy communion. He was also to have been expelled the university : but this he prevented by a voluntary retirement.
Yet one of the commissioners, who had been sent by the duke of Weimar, (one of the lords of Jena,) informed the duke, that according to his judgment Stoltius was an innocent and holy man. On this the duke sent for him to Weimar, and fixed him in a living there. There likewise he awakened many, and met with them to pray and read the Scriptures together. But it was not long that the city could bear him. For he boldly rebuked all vice, and that in all persons, neither sparing the courtiers, nor the duke himself. Consequently, his enemies every where increased, and many persecutions followed. In fine, he was forbid to have any private meetings, and was to have been deposed from the ministry; when God calling him to himself, took him away from the evil to come.
Before Stoltius left Jena, Buddæus also began to preach the real Gospel, as did Christius soon after; whereby some awakening continued till the year 1724. A few of the townsmen then agreed to maintain a student, to be a schoolmaster for some poor children. They afterward kept several schoolmasters: but about 1728, all of them going away, the school was broke up, and the children quite neglected. Professor Buddæus being informed of this, earnestly recommended the consideration of it to the students in his house : and about ten of them, among whom was Mr. Spangenberg, took upon themselves the care of those children. Their number soon increased, which gave great offence to the other schoolmasters in the town; and not long after to the magistrates of the town, and to the senate of the university. The offence soon spread to the pastors, the professors, the consistory, and the princes who are lords of Jena. But it pleased God to move one of them, the prince of Eisenach, who had the chief power there, to stop the open persecution, by forbidding either the senate or consistory to molest them. He likewise wholly exempted them from the jurisdiction of both, ordering that all complaints against them for the time to come should be cognizable only by himself. But during the persecution, the number of schools was increased from one to three, (one in each suburb of the city,) the number of teachers to above thirty, and of children to above three hundred.
There are now thirty constant teachers, ten in each school, and three or four supernumerary, to supply accidental defects. Four of the masters are appointed to punish, who are affixed to no one school. Each of the schools being divided into two classes, and taught five hours a day, every one of the thirty masters has one hour in a day to teach. All the masters have a conference about the schools every Monday. They have a second meeting on Thursday, chiefly for prayer: and a third every Saturday. Once in half a year they meet to fill up the places of those masters who are gone away. And the number has never decreased ; fresh ones still offering themselves, as the former leave the university. The present method wherein they teach is this :